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DoH had no choice, it wasn't a belated good decision

16 May 2007 - JG

Yesterday I asked the question, was the DoH decision to scrap the NHS online recruitment system a belated good decision or the only option left? Andrew Rowland, vice-chairman of the BMA's junior doctors committee, rather surprisingly believes "T-he Department of Health has at last seen sense and effectively abandoned the unfair, discredited and shambolic MTAS system-." I couldn't disagree more. The DoH has dragged this out as far as they can and now realise that if they take it any further someone will end up in the docks. It is that serious. Hewitt had no choice but to end this fiasco by scrapping MTAS - at no point did she suddenly see common sense.

The announcement came in the face of a legal challenge in the high court. No coincidence. The DoH knows it would have been dragged through mud in this one and almost certainly lost on the grounds of a completely unfair and fault riddled selection process. Hewitt is also very aware that criminal charges could be brought against people in her department (including her) for pretty serious security and data protection leaks.

130 medical staff have signed a petition demanding the Met police investigate. They have highlighted the leaking of doctors' personal details, including addresses, telephone numbers, and data about religion, criminal convictions, and sexual orientation, not only puts the doctors themselves at risk, but could potentially allow others to impersonate doctors.

So to even begin to think the DoH saw the light and withdrew MTAS as some sort of move for common sense is madness. They had absolutely no choice whatsoever.

There is a post script to all this. A DoH spokesman (they always have to have their moment) said yesterday that the MTAS system was not being scrapped entirely. It would continue to be used to monitor appointments this year and may be reintroduced next year, subject to a review of the selection process. God help us all.


Topics: Health

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